Chicago Sun-Times

Bear players concerned about frozen field

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Robbie Gould said Bears players are concerned about the possible dangers of playing Monday night's game against the Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium but are prepared to do so.

"Everyone has [voiced concerns]," said the Bears' kicker, who is also the team's union representative. "I know that Minnesota players have done so. We've been in contact with the NFLPA. The biggest concern that players have is that we want to make sure the surface is not going to create more risk than there already is in the game, especially with the NFL right now being in such a forefront for player safety. So the biggest concern is the playing conditions of the field and obviously playing on a frozen field will create a little more risk for players. I think the NFL, the NFLPA and the Bears and the Vikings as organizations will make an educated and responsible decision as far as making sure players don't get put in a potential for advanced or more risk, because I don't think the game deserves to put players in that kind of environment. I know there's a lot of people up there from our organization, the PA and the NFL, and something will get done and in a timely manner."
Bears safety Chris Harris took his opinion to his Twitter account, and he didn't back down at Halas Hall.

''If you're going to preach player safety, you would think they would put you in the best conditions to be safe. I don't think an icy field is the best conditions,'' Harris said.

"At the end of the day, you have to be safe," he said. "With the NFL cracking down on player safety, fining people $50,000, $75,000 for hits because they want the game to be safter, I don't think it's very safe to play on a frozen field.

''It's kind of like going outside and me trying to run in cleats and cut on a parking lot. You want to talk about player safety -- Aaron Rodgers got a concussion inside a dome. Imagine a quarterback going down and hitting his head on that surface [at Minnesota], what it would do.''

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman also expressed concerns, though not quite as vehemently as Harris.

''If the field's froze, who the hell wants to play on that?,'' Tillman said. ''I'd much rather play in Minnesota. I'd much rather play in the Metrodome. But it's an unfortunate accident that happened. With that being said, icy field ... this is a year we're cracking-down on player safety, concussions and stuff. You want to fine guys $75,000, but we're going to play on a frozen field? It doesn't make sense to me.

Tillman, though, said he will trust the NFL's judgment on whether the field is playable.

''If it passes the NFL's inspection, nothing to complain about,'' he said. ''But if not, I don't think it's smart for the Minnesota players or for us.''

But Harris was a little more leery. Asked if he trusted the NFL's judgment on the issue, he laughed derisively and said, ''No comment.''

''You don't have a choice. They tell you what to do in the NFL. It's pretty much a dictatorship,'' Harris said earlier. ''It's sad, but that's the way it goes. We don't have a voice as far as what we feel is safe. It's unfortunate.''

NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said via e-mail that the plan is to play Monday night's Bears-Vikings game at TCF Bank Stadium, which is where the University of Minnesota's football team plays. The NFL's senior vice president of public relations said the league is working closely with both teams as preparations continue.

"There's no protest," Gould said. "There will be no protest. The bottom line is that as players we want to make sure it's a safe environment to play on. As long as the field is safe and conditions are safe, the show must go on."

Unlike most cold-weather NFL stadiums such as Soldier Field, TCF Bank Stadium was not built as a cold-weather site and does not have heating coils beneath the playing surface, which could contributed to the artificial surface being frozen solid, or at least that is a concern for players.

With state-of-the-art domed facilities in Detroit and Indianapolis, Gould said players just want to make sure league officials examine all their options. He's confident that's happening.

"Players don't want to play on a facility that's frozen," he said. "Obviously those conditions are going to create more risk of injury and obviously players don't want to be put in that sort of situation, given that there's so many fines for head-to-head tackles.
"Plus, think about it: Aaron Rodgers got a concussion in Detroit, in a dome, and that's the softest of dome facilities. You go outdoors to a frozen field and the risk of injury is going to be a lot greater."

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Who the heck are these wooses? Let Butkus or Singeltary or Harper spend a few minutes with them. Bears, complaining about playing conditions? Bah, Humbug!

They play on a non heated frozen field every year. It's called Soldier Field and it is the worst one in the nfl. The field they played on last week at home was frozen. Are you kidding are they afraid to play outside now? Cause it sure sounds like it.

What part of greatest show on turf and Tampa2 made them think these would be effective outside in cold weather. The Vikings play Tampa 2 it's even stevens.

It's the Ice Bowl part two now suck it up ladies, what the heck happened to Bear weather.

What next silk Jocks and Caramel Cinaburst Macchiato's inbetween snaps? WTH is going on with the Bears? "We wanna play in a dome" Why cause the Pats came in and showed you what a real outdoor team looks like and threw them a beating. It's one loss suck it up and go play.

Three years of excuses, and now I have to read about Bear players affraid to play in the cold. This is not the Chicago Bears I grew up with. Been to the playoffs three times in the last decade, only twice with Smith in the last 6 years, 4 winning seasons in 10 years. People think this is better than the 90's Bears guess what, the 90's Bears went to the playoffs 3 times, and had 4 winning seasons. Wow big difference. You know who this Bears team is? It's the 80's pats all over again. Almost identical records, 1 super bowl loss, 3 playoff apperances, 4 winning seasons, the Pats actually had a better playoff record, both teams Play/played in the weaker division, both were coached by conservative defenses minded coaches.

You want crazy, how many people remember Tony Eason? A strong armed QB who happened to get sacked a lot, and tended to throw interceptions. He was their QB back in the 80's.

"Eason appeared in 72 games (49 as a starter) for the Patriots between 1983 and 1989.[13] His best years were from 1984 to 1986 when he was the Patriots' starting quarterback. In 1984, he completed 259 out of 431 passes (60.1%) for 3,228 yards and a passer rating of 93.4—third best in the NFL.[13] In 1986, he completed 276 of 448 passes (61.6%) for 3,328 yards and a passer rating of 89.2—fourth best in the NFL.[13] Eason also set an undesirable record in 1984 by being sacked 59 times for a loss of 409 yards; his 59 sacks was the most in NFL history at the time and currently stands as the ninth highest single season total.[15] Eason also led the NFL in interception percentage in the 1984 season with 1.9% of his passes being intercepted."

Meet Tony.

Now go look at a pick of Cutler, kinda scary.

WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!! WTH is going on with these players? The players who had to play on these fields back in the day would be shaking there heads. I know players are bigger and faster now but the technology is so far advanced now a days. Heated fields to soften them up, serious I get tired of these players now a days who can't play because there toe hurts. They get payed to much money for that crap.

It's funny I guess. The NFLPA is probably the weakest union in sports, playing for the highest revenue ownerships, at some of the lowest salarys in major pro sports, in deplorable conditions (such as the field in Chicago) and they still get called out at an almost 100% rate by nut cases pretending to be "fans". Just for doing routine business.

As a result of this weak union, next year the 47 fans that show up in Detroit and Frisco for the week 17 games to watch 3rd and 4th string quarterbacks play in a completely meaningless game......can look forward to 2 more or those games. It will be the same type of thing as the fans who pack Gillete Stadium this weekend to watch Aaron Rogers as a sideline spectator. Minny fans could pay hundreds of dollars to sit freezing outside, and maybe get to see their team play a quarterback who was signed this week.

Ever trip and fall hard on a cobblstone road? That is approximately what the players would be doing on a frozen football field. The cold weather outdoor stadiums do NOT have frozen fields. Frozen field are extremely hard and uneven. The fields are covered and heated before the game to keep that from happening. Even the old Metropolitan Stadium field was not frozen when they played on it. I remember seeing these dudes wheeling around fire breathing machines at halftime to keep that from happening.

This is exactly what labor unions are supposed to do; make sure that their members have safe working conditions. My wife's daddy thought that his co-workers were sissies too. Years ago they objected to the dusty working conditions while he proudly worked on. Now he is dying of aesbetosis from working in those conditions.

I do not think that serious concern over player injuries is misguided or wimpy. The past is the past, and though progress sometimes seems a step backward rather than forward, in the long run the results are positive.Stadiums are better, players are better, medical care is better, college programs are better, and ultimately the kind of football offered to the fans is better.The Ohio State approach of four yards and a cloud of dust could never stand up to the passing games of the Mannings, Brees , Cutler , and others.The sixty -minute men who played both ways are a thing of the past, and rightly so.

They are playing on Field Turf MS, same stuff the Pats play on every home game and they don't have a heating system, if the Bears have a heating system it does not work very well.

Fact is the Bears just complained about playing on their own field last week because it was not good enough for them to play good football on (typical excuse). It seemed good enough for the Pats though. They didn;t have a problem playing on it. New Medowlands is field turf and does not have a heating system.
The Skins play on grass without a heating system. The roller dome surface has been compared to playing on concrete, so has the surface in Detroit. Did any Bears players get hurt last week playing on just such a surface?

The Bears don't want to play on this surface because as they pointed out after the Pats game, they are better in a dome, where their speed is not limited.

I am glad you think the players don't make enough, I am sure Peppers 100 million dollar contract is enough to keep a small roof over his head and maybe some food in his belly. As for NFL teams making a lot of money, thats not really true is it. That's why they have revenue sharing, without it half the teams in the nfl would have gone under. Their are a few major market teams that keep the league on it's feet, but as you pointed out, teams like the Lions are not seling out games, the Jags, Browns, Bengals and so on.

In fact the new cba that the owners are looking for looks to cut player salary by up to 30% and lowering the salary cap. That will be a lot of fun for a team likethe Bears that build teams via Free agency and trades for vets. As it stands they would be about 20 million over the cap right now and you know the Bears are not breaking the cap. In the future teams that build through the draft will be rewarded and teams that can't will be crushed. Because the FA market will see a major decline as players will find it more cost effective to stay with teams that drafted them.

Nfl players make a lot of money they are not hurting for cash.

If the Bears are really that concerned about playing at TCF, they could have filed a formal complaint. Instead they decided to whine about it and not even use their union. That's not the unions fault and they would have had a good chance of moving the game. No they just wanted to whine. I think they are still mad about the Pats game which found the players whining about the conditions both before and after the game.

They are track team, they don;t practice in the cold and they don;t want to play in the cold. From what I just read the Pats do practice in the cold on a regular basis. The Bears pracice in the bubble, in shorts.

Perhaps the nfl should start a new flag football league, I am sure the Bears would love to be the founders of that league as well.


MS BearsFan I agree with you. Fans sitting at home talking about the good old days. You don't think these players see the old crippled players, broke and without adequate health. I was goin to say something along the lines that we've learned a great deal that some things are bad for our health. Maybe past players smacking their heads on hard surfaces helped contribute to their brain conditions now. I wouldn't sacrifice my health for a bunch of ungrateful fans. The cold weather in Chicago help contribute to neatherthal mentalities of "let the player kill themselves for my entertainment" desease. You guys would've been great Romans...Throw him to the Lions....

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This page contains a single entry by Neil Hayes published on December 16, 2010 2:01 PM.

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